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Advocating for the rights of older people

Graphic: Two elderly women at a table, Thailand

NHRIs from across the globe made a significant contribution to the annual UN meeting on the rights of older people.


National human rights institutions (NHRIs) from across the globe have made a significant contribution to discussions at the annual UN meeting on the rights of older people.

Nine NHRIs – from Croatia, El Salvador, Germany, Haiti, Hungary, India, Korea, Nigeria, and the Philippines – attended the 10th session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA), held in New York in April 2019.

This year's discussions focused on substantive issues in relation to social security and support, as well as education, training and life-long learning.

NHRI representatives made a series of joint and individual statements to the session, as well as serving on discussion panels and taking part in side-events and NGO briefings.

In addition, more than 20 NHRIs made written submissions to the OEWGA on both the substantive themes discussion at this year's session and the normative elements raised at the 9th session in 2018.


Two older women, Samoa

The 11th session of the OEWGA in April 2020 will examine substantive issues in relation to access to justice and access to the labour market.

Ahead of the session, NHRIs are encouraged to prepare a submission that addresses either or both themes.

They can also provide a submission on normative content related to the 2019 themes: social security and support, and education, training and life-long learning.


"It is very encouraging to see NHRIs making such use of their right to participate in the work of the OEWGA," said Kieren Fitzpatrick, Director of the APF secretariat.

"NHRIs can add enormous value to these discussions, drawing on the data they collect and their independent analysis of laws and policies affecting older people."

One potential role for the OEWGA is the development of a convention on the rights of older people, similar to existing UN conventions on the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities.

At this year's session, civil society and NHRI representatives continued to urge the OEWGA to move forward and request the General Assembly to initiate the drafting of a new convention.

The OEWGA session was preceded by a civil society/NHRI workshop, which was supported in part by the APF.

NHRIs also held a productive meeting with the OEWGA Chairperson, Ambassador Martín García Moritán of Argentina, on 18 April 2019

Date: 10 May 2019


Image credits

  1. Two elderly women at a table, Thailand - Trinn Suwannapha/World Bank, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1NyzODX
  2. Two older women, Samoa - APF/Steven Percival